Mel Rothenburger's comments show an oversimplification and misrepresentation of the goals of the provincial wolf management plan. Rothenburger's comments most likely refer to the Draft Management Plan for the Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus) in B.C. published in November 2012.
The report clearly outlines the goal is to maintain sustainable wolf populations throughout their range, provide for harvestable and other non-consumptive uses for wolves, reduce threats to safety and property, and finally — perhaps most importantly — to control specific populations of wolves where predation is likely preventing the recovery of a species at risk.
Rothenburger falsely suggests there will be a general open season with no restrictions throughout the Thompson region, but the report clearly states that hunting and trapping seasons need to be consistent with the above goals.
A big concern in the report is the need to address the risk of having little or nonexistent wolf population control with respect to livestock and species at risk.
It is very easy for Rothenburger to say wolf populations should never be controlled. But the livelihood of ranchers is impacted by this and the recovery of vulnerable species like mountain caribou is threatened.
Wolf populations are not at risk in B.C. In fact, their numbers and range are increasing throughout the province and have been for a number of years. I think many people believe we should safeguard people's livelihoods; the recovery of vulnerable species matters to a lot of people.
A wolf needs seven pounds of meat per day to survive and breed successfully. A wolf pack of ten needs to kill at least a 150-pound deer every two days to survive and reproduce.
That equates to 180 deer per year for a pack of 10 wolves.
One wolf needs a minimum of 15 to 18 deer per year to survive. It is easy to see how a wolf pack can have such an impact on livestock and vulnerable ungulate populations. In the end, the report acknowledges that even generous open hunting seasons will have minimal impact on overall wolf numbers. But wolf control is important in specific areas and to specific species at risk.
Rothenburger's claims about the wolf management plan are inaccurate and merely headline-grabbing. He conveniently omits many of the other concerns involved in this issue.